Surge in attacks on class teachers
Victim I fear what each day will bring
Teachers have faced 16,000 attacks in Scot land’s classrooms over the last three years.
Shocking statistics revealed an upward trend in violent incidents.
Teachers have faced a shocking rise in classroom assaults by violent pupils, the Sunday Mail can reveal.
Alarming figures show they have been targeted in 16,000 attacks over the last three years.
The number rose by almost 10 per cent last year and is set for a similar increase this year.
In March 2017, it was revealed that a primary school head had been left “bloodied” by a pupil.
Janette Black required hospital treatment after the assault at Springhill and Auchenback Primary in Barrhead, near Glasgow.
Some teachers claim the controversial policy of inclusion – where difficult pupils are taught in mainstream schools – is contributing to the rise.
They also blame inadequate discipline strategies, which include having “restorative chats” with aggressive pupils.
Police have been called in at least 265 cases – a small fraction of the incidents.
Statistics obtained under freedom of information legislation show there were 5940 assaults on teachers recorded by Scotland’s local authorities in 2016/17.
The number rose to 6544 the following year.
Figures for the 2018/19 session up to the end of November show 3688 assaults – meaning this year’s total is on course to exceed 7000.
The true number will be in excess of this as six councils – including Fife, Scotland’s third largest – failed to provide figures.
Most of the attacks occurred in primary schools – although this sector accounts for the largest number of pupils overall.
Education expert Professor Lindsay Paterson said: “The perception by many teachers that there’s something of a crisis is borne out by these figures.
“The number of assaults is already high for this year and on the rise from previous years. Clearly something is getting worse.” Concerned teachers have told of being hit on a regular basis.
One said: “We’re already under huge pressure.
“When you factor in physical assaults, you can see why teachers are deserting the profession in large numbers and councils are finding it difficult to replace them.”
Despite the rising number of attacks, official figures show the number of pupils being excluded for assaults fell by more than 50 per cent in a decade.
There were 44,794 exclusions in 2006/07 and 18,381 in 2016/17, the most recent published figure, which included 1839 pupils excluded for assaults against staff.
It’s the latest revelations in a string of problems facing the profession. It was revealed on Friday that teaching union the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) are to hold talks on whether to call a strike over pay. Unions want a 10 per cent rise.
A poll by the EIS this month showed more than 75 per cent of teachers frequently feel stressed because of their workload.
Teachers have said indiscipline and the fear of being attacked are their biggest concerns.
One said: “I’ve been hit breaking up a fight and had a pupil lash out when mildly rebuked over his behaviour.
“When I’m going in, I ’ m thinking, ‘What will I have to face today?’”
We asked the 32 councils for the number of assaults carried out by pupils on teachers in the past three years. East Lothian,
Falkirk, Fife, North Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire and the Western Isles did not give figures.
South Lanarkshire Council said: “Our analysis shows the majority of violent incidents involve primary-aged children with additional support needs, with some children being involved in multiple incidents relating to their additional support needs.
“We look closely to see what we can do to prevent a recurrence and to offer support to staff.”
Figures last year showed attacks on teachers have almost doubled in a year at an Edinburgh school that is one of the most violent in Scotland.
There were 97 assaults in 2018 on teachers at Kaimes School in Liberton, which is for children with additional needs. It was also revealed this month that teachers had been paid almost £250,000 in compensation after attacks by pupils, as well as accidents.
The EIS said one teacher had a £12,000 violence claim awarded after being targeted twice by pupils.
Scottish Greens’ co- convenor Patrick Harvie last week pressed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon over council funding cuts s in the Scottish budget, which he said risk worsening the situation for kids with additional support needs.
He highlighted figures showing there are 15 per cent fewer specialist additional support needs teachers compared to 2010, while the number of pupils with additional needs has more than doubled over the same period. EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “We’re alarmed to f ind statistics have shown an increase in this type of incident and the union are submitting a motion on this topic to the next STUC AGM.
“It’s essential that when serious incidents do occur, they’re dealt with swiftly and firmly.
“This should include police involvement where a teacher has been physical ly assaulted or placed under severe threat.”
Liz Smith, Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary: “It’s completely unacceptable that teachers are being subjected to any violence at all.
“Teachers are telling us that some of the problem is created by the policy of mainstreaming. In far too many cases, this policy is adversely affecting pupils, who are in unsuitable environments, and the education of other pupils.
“The strain this is putting on teachers is unfair and the SNP must review this policy urgently.”
Scottish Lib Dems education spokesman Tavish Scott said: “For the good of teachers and pupils, there must be appropriate systems in place for removing violent children from classrooms.”
Education Secretar y John Swinney said: “No teacher should have to suffer abuse in the workplace and we want all pupils to behave in a respectful manner.
“Our refreshed guidance on preventing and managing schools exclusions, published in June 2017, includes guidance on managing challenging behaviour.”
FEAR 75 per cent of teachers say they are stressed. Pic: Getty Images/ Radius Images
ATTACKED Janette. Left,Harvie